Covid-19 death toll mounts in US with difficult weeks ahead

The country added more than 2,100 new deaths Nov 13, the highest in almost five months. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - The US is starting to see a rising death toll from its latest spate of Covid-19 cases, and it's poised to get worse in the weeks to come.

The country added more than 2,100 new deaths Friday (Nov 13), the highest in almost five months, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg.

The seven-day average for fatalities in America was 1,052 on Thursday, close to the highest since mid-August, according to Covid Tracking Project data. A consensus of models tracked by the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Reich Lab shows the daily pace poised to increase by about 200 by early December.

The surge in infections has now spread to 49 states, with some of the most alarming momentum in places such as New York state, where seven-day average cases are up 72 per cent in the past week, third most in the nation, Covid Tracking data show.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said schools may end in-person classes as soon as Monday.

Nationwide, daily Covid infections broke a new record Friday after adding more than 161,000 cases.

But the rising death tolls are still in large part driven by the Midwest and some hotspots that were starting to get bad in September and early October, including El Paso, Texas.

Without those, the national fatalities trend is still just barely beginning to steepen, suggesting America hasn't really seen the outcomes of the broader upswing.

Covid deaths often trail infections by weeks, and it can take even longer for the deaths to get disclosed, meaning the fatalities trend line often starts rising well after cases. It can also remain elevated well after the surge has subsided.

The Midwest spike started significantly earlier than every other region. It's also the most dramatic.

The US reported an additional 147,556 cases Thursday, the second highest ever after Wednesday's tally, according to Johns Hopkins University data. There have been more than 242,000 deaths cumulatively, Johns Hopkins data show.

According to Covid Tracking Project data, 26 states have posted single-day records in new cases this week.

The states with the worst momentum in cases are Vermont, Wyoming, New York, Tennessee and Kansas, as measured by the per cent change in seven-day average cases from a week earlier, although Vermont is rising from a particularly low base.

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